The case for extending employee benefits to dependent parents

We’re lucky nowadays to be on the receiving end of improved healthcare and lifestyle advice. It has made us stronger, healthier and more aware of how to live well; not to mention, raised our average life expectancy.

As a direct result of this, the demand for the care of elderly people who are unable to look after themselves (dubbed ‘eldercare’) has exploded. But as many people know, the cost of eldercare is huge, forcing many lone elderly people to sell their homes in order to fund it. This cost has a devastating effect on the wellbeing of the people being turned out, and their loved ones.

To support the surge in demand for eldercare, the UK is expected to gain 3 million more carers within the next thirty years, putting the industry under tremendous pressure to engage, perform and be sustained. But this blow could be softened considerably if employers were to restructure employee benefits and extend them to include dependent parents. It has been proposed that a few changes be made to employers’ policies, in which childcare is usually accounted for, so that dependent parents of employees are covered too.

Suggested improvements include:

  • Amendments to retirement ages and company pension schemes
  • Statutory eldercare days to be offered to those with dependents
  • Authorised absences, benefits and pensions related to eldercare to be reassessed by HR departments

It’s no secret that many people’s financial livelihoods have been brought to ruins by the costs of eldercare. Why should our loved ones, who have worked hard all their lives to gain security for themselves in their later years and for their families, be forced into giving it all up just to ensure they are adequately looked after? Lives all over the UK could be made happier and more stable by employers’ acknowledgement of the pressures faced by those of us with dependents, and by introducing flexible employee benefits which recognise dependent parents.